In August, the first teaser trailer for The Great Wall was released, and even though it didn't reveal all that much of the plot, doing exactly what a teaser is supposed to do, some people were upset that a "white man" (Matt Damon) had a lead role in a film set entirely in China.
Several days later, director Zhang Yimou (whose name is pronounced JONG EE-moe) put out a statement (via EW) to quell the concerns from Outrage Nation. He explained that Damon "is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor," and "the arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point." He added, "I have not and will not cast a film in a way that was untrue to my artistic vision."
Last Weekend, after The Great Wall panel at New York Comic Con, our own Brandon Davis spoke with Matt Damon and got the 46-year-old actor to provided new details about the film's plot.
"There are three Westerners in the movie; it's Pedro and me and Willem Dafoe," he explained to ComicBook.com. "And we play these guys who are mercenaries who basically come to steal gun powder from the Chinese and we've heard of this legendary weapon and we want to bring it back to the West and try to conquer the West with it. And we kind of stumble upon this secretive army that basically exists to defend the Great Wall against these monsters that attack every 60-years. And we kind of stumble upon them on the eve of this battle and prove ourselves useful enough that we end of fighting with them against this assault of monsters."
Starring global superstar Matt Damon (The Martian, Jason Bourne) and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), Legendary's The Great Wall tells the story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world's most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian (Kong: Skull Island, Pacific Rim: Maelstrom), Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, Narcos), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, John Wick), and Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs, The Warlords).
The cast also includes Hanyu Zhang, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Kenny Lin, Junkai Wang, Zheng Kai, Cheney Chen, and Xuan Huang.
Based on a story by Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz, the screenplay was penned by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, and Tony Gilroy.
The Great Wall will be released in theaters on February 17, 2017.